The state government has not allowed app-based cabs to raise their fares despite rising fuel prices.
App-based cab services such as Ola and Uber drivers are making 10 percent less profit as fuel prices continue to rise. Before the rise in fuel prices, the cab drivers were making a profit of Rs.15 per km, which has now fallen to Rs.10 per km. “I am unable to send my children to school, I do not know how to run my household,” said Munawar Sheikh, an Ola auto driver. He used to earn
Rs. 2000 on an average per day, but now he earns Rs. 1800 per day.
The prices of petrol and diesel have risen by seven percent since December 2020. As of 25th March 2020, the price of petrol is Rs. 94.30 whereas diesel is Rs. 86. The Karnataka government has allowed non app based cabs to raise their fares by 20 percent. However, they are yet to allow services like Ola and Uber to raise their fares. N. Shivakumar, Managing Director of the Karnataka Transport Commissioner Office said, “We have sent a proposal to the state government to look into the fares of the app-based cabs. However, as of now there is no permission to impose surge pricing.” He further added that the fares should be within the government-fixed fare structure.
Rahul Nadgauda, president of The Karnataka Cab and Auto Drivers Association said that 30 percent of Ola and Uber drivers have quit their job as their vehicles were seized due to non repayment of loans. “Most of them are now working as daily wage workers or are unemployed,” he said.
He added that Ola and Uber charge high commissions out of the base fare. Ola charges 40 percent of the base fare, which leaves little for the cab and auto drivers. Ola India has declined to comment on the commissions.
Experts said that one way to deal with this is by reducing the commission Uber and Ola takes from the fare. He said that the government should also look into the issue. “The government should take care of these drivers. So either the government should allow Ola and Uber to raise the prices or they should decrease the fuel prices,” he said.
The association said that it is important that the government steps in and helps the drivers by giving them some extra funds. The association added till then the drivers will continue to struggle in meeting their basic expenses.